Hurricane Irene Tuesday Latest- 303 PM Earthquake update

People seem a little riled up over this earthquake.  There is some damage in the DC/Virginia area.  A water main break has caused mandatory evacuations at the Pentagon.  The airports are running slowly because air traffic control towers were evacuated.  Amtrak service is delayed because investigators have to check every single rail.  The earthquake was felt from Atlanta to Canada.  Is that rare?  Actually no not really.  While earthquakes in the east are rare, they do occur every few years.  The long ranging effects of the earthquake aren't that rare either.  The Earth's crust along the east coast is solid and relatively cool.  Therefore, the earthquake shock is able to travel far and fast.  

The EURO model is also in line with a North Carolina strike and then it hugs the Mid-Atlantic before crossing into New England.   This almost exactly what the NHC track is (see below). This would be a very bad track because PA, NJ, and NY have very saturated grounds right now.  This would lead to extreme flooding.  That would put the storm surge and winds on the New England side of the system.  As shown below I'm east of the EURO track but not by much.  What a day!
NHC track, watches, warnings, winds, and movement

There have been interesting developments today with regard to Hurricane Irene.  Mainly that the latest American weather computer model (the GFS) scrapes the Outer Banks of North Carolina before making landfall on Long Island and then southeast Connecticut before crossing into northern RI/south central Massachusetts.  For those who live in the Blackstone Valley (like me) this is as close to worst case scenario as we are going to get.  This keeps southeastern New England on the east side of the Hurricane, which is the most intense side.  The direction of the track will also send heavy flooding rains into the region as the center pulls away.  Storm surge along the south coast could be significant depending on how strong Irene is.

So the question becomes now, how likely is this?  This is 5 days away and to expect a model to keep the same track for 5 days is a stretch.  With that said, the models have been consistent and fairly accurate with Irene since she formed.  NOAA research planes have sampled the other "players" who will have a say where Irene goes.  High pressure in the Atlantic, High Pressure near Texas, and an upper level trough entering the Pacific Northwest will steer this system.  Irene is about to strengthen as the cyclone moves over very warm waters in the Bahama's.  This strengthening can have an impact because the Hurricane will be releasing vast amounts of heat into the atmosphere.  Does this help break down the Atlantic High and cause Irene to accelerate to the north?  This is very difficult to determine, which is a 100 miles track error could be the difference between a tropical storm with flooding rains or just some rain and wind.

I'm going to keep my track from yesterday.  I don't see any reason to change it significantly, especially with the Hurricane Center coming east.

Irene is beginning to develop an eye
Visible Satellite of Irene, click to enlarge
And one last image to chew on
500 mb Vorticity, Sunday 11 PM
This post will be updated after the European model is released in an hour or so.  At this point its probably best to make a plan if you live on the coast.  If you have a boat plan to get it out of the coastal waters.  It wouldn't be bad to pick up some food and water.  At the very least get batteries and flashlights.  If the forecast doesn't pan out, no big deal.  Its certainly not time to panic.  However, if this is ignored and it does indeed hit, it will be much worse than hyping something that doesn't quite live up to expectations.  We do that everyday in our culture.  And then whenever a disaster hits we demand to know why we weren't prepared.  To me, the time to prepare is now.  If one extra person goes out and prepares for this storm early and it hits, then its worth it for me.


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